MartinHafer

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Reviews

Impasse
(1969)

Surprisingly good compared to most American films made in the Philippines.
During the late 1960s and into the 70s, the Philippines was the site of quite a few ultra-cheap movies....and some of the most famous were the 'girls in chains' exploitation films. But they were not restricted only to this cheesy genre....and "Impasse" is proof there were more movies made there than just exploitation.

Burt Reynolds stars as Pat Morrison, the leader of a group of men who are in search of lost gold. It seems that as the country was falling to the Japanese in WWII, the US Army hid valuables...including gold. Well, a friend of Pat's knows where the gold might be...and so Pat organizes a group of men to help in retrieving it.

This is a decent adventure film and in spite of its humble location, Reynolds has a decent cast supporting him. The script also isn't bad. Overall, one of Reynolds' better films.

Fuzz
(1972)

Not a bad idea for a film...and the cops are dumber than Barney Fife??
I do love how it's solved--fake cops and robbers with real cops hiding --wonder how common this is?

I noticed that IMDB lists this as, among other things, a comedy. Well, I don't think I'd consider it one at all, though the ending is darkly comic in a way.

Although the film stars Burt Reynolds, he doesn't appear in the movie until 23 minutes into the story. Additionally, it's a real ensemble cast and I don't think anyone really is the star of this movie.

The criminals in this film have a lot of nerve....and they are assisted by the cops, whose ineptness helped the crooks twice! A hard of hearing man (Yul Brynner) runs an odd gang. They plan on extorting money out of the city of Boston by threating to kill various public officials or their families. And, to show they mean business, they kill a couple folks. The police really show their stupidity in each murder....watch it and you'll see what I mean. The film, however, is not just about this case but several others as well...sort of a slice of life at the precinct.

So is it any good? Yes...especially because the ending is so unusual, so unpredictable and so interesting...it makes it well worth your time.

By the way, having Reynolds' character married to a deaf woman for 12 years wasn't really done well. First, when they communicate, she signs and he just talks. This is HIGHLY unlikely after being married all that time. Plus lip reading (also called speech reading) is far from an exact thing. Second, he has a mustache....and reading his lips would be VERY difficult for any deaf person. Normally, if a hearing man with a mustache dates a deaf woman who speech reads, he's have to shave off that 'stache. I have deaf family members, so I noticed these things.

Hunters Are for Killing
(1970)

A much better than you'd expect made for Tv film.
Since "Hunters Are for Killing" is a made for TV film, it's unlikely you'll see it on DVD any time soon. But someone did post it to YouTube and it turns out to be a pretty good movie.

L. G. (Burt Reynolds) has been in prison for several years for Vehicular Homicide....and his brother was killed. You aren't really sure why L. G. returns to the town he grew up in, as his own step-father (Melvyn Douglas) wants nothing to do with him and the local sheriff is a jerk with a serious desire to destroy L. G.. You soon find out that he's actually been out of prison for a while and he's home because he's angry about his conviction and his father's harsh judgment of him. What's next? Watch the film.

While I would never say Burt Reynolds was a great actor, he's good her and he's helped by an excellent supporting cast. Additionally, the story is quite nice and offers a few nice twists and some action. Worth seeing.

Stick
(1985)

Pretty mindless.
"Stick" is a rather brainless action film which I wanted to like more than I did. On the negative, George Segal's talents are mostly wasted, Charles Durning's look is just bizarre and comical, and the writing and direction could have been a lot better. On the plus side, Burt Reynolds' hairpiece looks really good...much better than in movies from around the same period like "Malone".

Malone (Burt Reynolds) is just out of prison when he meets up with an old friend. The friend isn't especially bright and is a drug courier....and soon Malone sees him gunned down by some hoods just for kicks. Malone spends the rest of the film seeking revenge on the several people responsible for the man's murder.

I think the film could have been a lot better....and deeper. Instead, it's mostly action, shooting and folks falling off buildings...as well as cartoon gun physics (a man is shot by a handgun and flies about 15 feet as a result!!). If you like cartoon physics, one-dimensional characters, non-stop action and Charles Durning sporting a mumu, GIANT red eyebrows and a silly red wig (looking almost exactly like Baron Harkonen in David Lynch's "Dune"), then by all means watch it. Otherwise, you could do a lot better.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
(2010)

I am shocked Gyllenhaal made this film!
I was shocked when I learned that Jake Gyllenhaal starred in this Disney film, as it's very commercial....and Gyllenhaal otherwise seems to love taking chances and avoiding the commercial. It's hard to think of the actor from "Brokeback Mountain", "Source Code", "Nightcrawler" and "Donnie Darko" being in such a movie...a movie that is purely about making money and never tries to be art nor innovative. It's simply a movie based on a video game.

The story begins when Dastan is a poor boy. After insulting the king and his men, the king is taken by the boy's bravery and adopts the orphan. Years pass and now Dastan is an adult. He's loyal and loves the king and isn't in line to be king because the king has a biological son....who ends up being EVIL!!! The evil son has an evil plan....to kill the king and pin the murder on Dastan....which he does. But Dastan manages to escape with a plucky princess (are there any other type in Disney films??) and after discovering the power in a magic dagger, he plans on returning to bring justice to his conniving brother.

The film has a lot of special effects which in 2021 look like cut scenes from video games. Video game fans will love this, but the scenes are so obviously CGI that it took me out of it. Plus, this IS supposed to be ancient Persia....with modern special effects and NONE of the actors are Persian (Iranian).

Overall, if you love action as opposed to decent dialog and characters, then this film is for you. As for me, I just found it pretty to look at (the costumes and sets are incredible) but dull and disappointing as I've come to expect more from Gyllenhaal. And, it's interesting to note that he also expressed great disappointment in having been in the movie.

The Last Run
(1971)

The acting is quite good....the story awfully slow.
Harry (George C. Scott) used to be the getaway driver for various capers. But he's been out of the business for nearly a decade and the now middle aged man wants one last job....just to prove it to himself that he still has it.

When Harry picks up Paul (Tony Musante), Paul's pals in the business arranged for his escape from prison. But when Harry drives Paul and his girlfriend (Trish Van Devere) to a meeting with these friends, it turns out to be a set-up and they try to kill him. Now the three of them are on the run.

THe film lacks a lot of incidental music. Yes, there is some in the film but many scenes are done quietly...and with a lot of talking. Action and suspense don't seem all that important in this one...more just a character study of three unusual people. My feeling is that the acting was a lot better and more exciting to watch than the script.

Tension at Table Rock
(1956)

Surprisingly, the theme is a bit like "Talladega Nights"!
When the story begins, Wes Tancred (Richard Egan) shoots his friend because the man, though respected, was an evil murderer. The sole witness, the dead man's girlfriend, lies and says Tancred just shot the guy in the back! Well, the dead man was wanted...so the sheriff does nothing. But the people in the town believe the lie and begin singing songs about the villainous Wes Tancred! Well, Tancred isn't stupid and he leaves for greener pastures.

Along the way, Tancred meets up with a nice man and his young son...and the boy really likes Wes. But soon some villains come and kill the boy's father...and Tancred takes out the three murderers. With no family, Tancred takes the boy to the next town where his uncle is the sheriff.

Once in town, Tancred realizes that the sheriff is afraid. A cattle drive is coming by the town and that means trouble-making cowboys. But instead of keeping them out, the sheriff wants to be nice in the hope that everyone lives and let live. Well, based on the past, this isn't going to be the case and what follows is a chance for the sheriff to regain his manhood....much like Ricky Bobby did in "Talladega Nights"...but without the Frenchman and ne'er do well father.

The acting was really nice in this one, and Egan was a most agreeable lead. So, while the story had some very familiar themes, the acting and writing helped the film to rise above the countless westerns of the day. Well worth seeing.

Brothers
(2009)

A side of war we just don't see often enough in films.
Most war films, particularly those made decades ago, glorify war and seldom, if ever, talk about the true cost. Think about it....it's hard to imagine John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart breaking down and sobbing after a battle! But there is a reality to war, the psychological trauma, that just isn't talked about enough...especially since it doesn't just hurt the soldier but their families as well.

In "Brothers", the film begins with a real black/white situation. There are two brothers...a good, honorable one and the other a jerk who's just gotten out of jail. But life is rarely black and white...and over time, the 'bad brother' (Jake Gyllenhaal) manages to do something with his life while the 'good one' (Toby McGuire) goes off to war and it emotionally damaged to such a point that he's a danger to his family.

This is a tough film to watch. If you've been through war or had family members affected by PTSD, this film might even be tougher to watch...to the point where you might want to watch this with someone and have some Kleenex handy. But I think this is a good thing. The film is wonderfully crafted and acted...but brings attention to our veterans and their plights.....plights which are certainly understandable considering what they've been through. A very good film...well worth seeing.

By the way, this is a remake of a Danish film...which I have not seen but plan to see.

Southpaw
(2015)

Jake Gyllenhaal, once again, takes a risk.
Jake Gyllenhaal is an incredible actor and I don't think there's another actor today who takes the risks and plays the wide variety of roles that he plays. And, in "Southpaw", he once again REALLY stretches his acting skills and he turns in an amazing performance.

When the story begins, Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) is on top of the boxing world. He's the light heavyweight champion of the world and has a lovely wife and daughter and all the trappings that go with it. However, when his wife is killed, Billy shows who he really is....an immature punk who has little self-control. Soon, he's drinking, drugging and destroying himself....with no regard for his poor daughter. As a consequence, he soon loses everything....his home, his fortune, his daughter and his self-respect. The rest of the story is about Billy's quest to redeem himself and regain custody of his daughter.

There are three amazing performances in this film....which is why I rated this one so high. Gyllenhaal is excellent and makes you really hate him through much of the film....that took a risk. It also is REALLY amazing seeing how he transformed himself into a credible looking boxer...and it's obvious he worked himself to death to look so cut and believable. You just have to see it to believe it. Forest Whitaker is also amazing in the movie....which I really expected from this Oscar-winner. He is terrific and is a very strong supporting actor. But the one that also surprised me was young Oona Laurence who played the daughter, Leila. She really was a fine young actress and it really helped that the writer got this character right. The child COULD have been a passive, crying victim in all this. But like some kids who have been through hellish family problems, she is angry and deservedly so. As a trained therapist and social worker, it was nice to see her behaving this way...it felt real.

Overall, an excellent film due to some lovely acting and writing. My only complaint is the music...which was generally great but I hated the rap portion. But, I am a 57 year-old guy and not the target audience...so I don't think it's a mistake...I'm just an old grouch!

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
(2005)

Well made but an odd film for kids.
"The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" is a strange subject matter for an animated film for kids. It's based on the Caldecott Award winning book which itself is based on the real life exploits of Phillipe Petit. I say strange because I am pretty sure most parents would not be thrilled to see their kids to grow up to be tightrope walkers. Plus, technically speaking, what Petit did was illegal.

This short film is about a tightrope walk Petit made in the 1970s between the two towers of the World Trade Center. In fact, that pretty much IS the film.

The animation is nice and appears hand drawn and the story is, amazingly, narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal. Overall, worth seeing but not a films for small kids and I am not sure how many adults would watch it either.

Jarhead
(2005)

Like collective insanity
I have never been in the military, so I can only guess as to home realistic this film is. But one thing that startled me was how close to insanity the various Marines were in this film. One minute, one of them would seem pretty normal and the next they'd be losing their minds. This happened again and again to practically all the soldiers in the film...even the leading man, Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal)!

The story follows Swofford from a brief scene in boot camp to his advanced training to eventual deployment in Kuwait during the Gulf War. All during which, he and his fellow Marines were all just a few steps away from completely losing their minds.

This is not a pleasant film to watch, but I liked that the story was NOT sanitized....it was nasty, ugly, and, most interestingly, focused on how incredibly boring and uneventful the war was for the average grunt. It also focuses on the emotional damage incurred by these men. Quite interesting if not enjoyable.

Malone
(1987)

Surprisingly good.
In many of his later films, I noticed that Burt Reynolds had a tendency to say very little...such as in "Heat" and "Malone". In "Heat" it was a deficit but here in "Malone" it seems to match his character.

When the story begins, you see that Malone (Burt Reynolds) is a CIA assassin. But he's tired of the work and retires....and the CIA is not at all happy about it.

Just by chance, Malone ends up having car trouble in a small mountain town. During the time he's stuck there, he sees that some rich guy, Delaney (Cliff Robertson), has bought out many of the locals and pretty much runs things...including the police department. His bullies also terrorize folks because they know the Sheriff will do nothing. Eventually, it becomes so bad that it turns into a war between Malone and Delaney's private little army.

I liked this film. Sure it isn't realistic (especially Reynolds' hairpiece) but it is enjoyable to watch. It's the sort of film you could also imagine Chuck Norris making...though I actually think Reynolds is a bit better suited for this role.

By the way, if you are curious, this pretty American mountain town is in British Columbia!

Smokey and the Bandit
(1977)

A simple plot and a lot of silliness.
The plot to "Smokey and the Bandit" is pretty simple. Two very strange rich guys, Big Enos and Little Enos, offer Bandit (Burt Reynolds) a veritable fortune to transport a semi filled with Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas to Georgia because you apparently couldn't find the beer in Georgia at that time. But they'll be transporting the beer without paying the liquor taxes and if Bandit and his friend, Cledus (Jerry Reed) are caught, they could be in big trouble. So, Bandit's job is to draw the local cops' attention by driving even faster and crazier than Cledus in his rig. Along the way, Bandit picks up a lady running away from a wedding (Sally Field)....and in pursuit is the groom and his mentally imbalanced Sheriff father (Jackie Gleason).

This is a film I'd place in the category of 'turn off your brain and just enjoy it'. This is NOT meant as an insult. It's the sort of silly, undemanding film you might enjoy as a change of pace and I strongly doubt if we'll be seeing it on the Criterion Channel any time in the near future! There are some things about the film that don't make much sense (such as a sheriff chasing them from Texas to Georgia and destroying a LOT in the process)...again, just turn off your brain and enjoy it for what it is...silly fun.

By the way, during the movie they say that the drive from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia is 900 miles. Well, it's actually about 700.

Heat
(1986)

This film felt as if they took several different scripts and tossed them together....and the film just doesn't work.
As I watched "Heat", I kept thinking that it looks like a film with an unfinished script...or perhaps bits and pieces of scripts that aren't woven together well. A lot of this makes sense when I read through the IMDB trivia...and the film reportedly has a half dozen directors! This explains a lot, as the film just seems a bit directionless and meandering. It's really a shame...and it's a film that probably shouldn't have been made unless it had only one director and one script and one direction.

Burt Reynolds plays Mex, a guy who does favors for money....which mostly involves being a personal body guard. But he also does other things, such as beating the snot out of three guys who, for kicks, beat the up a poor woman. After this, he takes on a job from a strange guy whose motives and motivations seem to change throughout the film. Later, the same guy pays Mex to teach him to be more macho...which seems impossible since the guy is played by Peter MacNicol.

The film has good moments but isn't a coherent film. I like the hairpiece bit (though it certainly is ironic considering Reynolds himself wore a toupee for years in his films) and thought the gambling addiction portion could have been really interesting. But overall, it's a weak film that seems more like a direct to video film than a feature you'd have seen in the theaters.

Gator
(1976)

It's sort of a sequel.
Three years before, Burt Reynolds made a very good movie called "White Lightning" and it was so popular that the public was eager for a sequel. Well, they got one...sort of. What I mean by that is that it's not exactly a sequel because some of the details and the tone of the movie is quite different from the first film. Instead of being set in Arkansas, Gator seems to be from Georgia, his father played a different character in the first film, there's a daughter who suddenly appeared from no where AND "Gator" is more of a comedy....but a comedy with some very serious stuff in it as well.

When the story begins, some Feds are chasing Gator McKlusky in the Georgia swamps. But Gator has a hot rod boat and manages to avoid them. But what he cannot avoid are these Feds arresting Gator's dad for moonshining. But they don't want the dad...they want to use him to leverage Gator into working for them.

It seems that long ago, Gator had a friend named Bama McCall (Jerry Reed). The Feds tell him that Bama is a gangster...and Gator simply cannot believe the terrible things they say about him. So, he agrees to go meet Bama and see for himself. Soon he's shocked....his friend IS a real creep who makes his living through extortion and child prostitution!

So what's funny about this? Well, not a lot but there is a super-goofy character played by Alice Ghostly...and she is a hoot and clearly was put in the film for comic relief. They also gave the film a girlfriend for Gator (Lauren Hutton)....who assists him and goofy Ghostly in digging up proof of McCall's criminal empire. As for Gator himself....well, he just doesn't seem quite like the guy from the previous film.

Generally I liked the story, but towards the latter part I felt really irritated....as if they didn't know what to do with the story. After Gator and his friends got the goods on McCall, instead of heading to the FBI or just driving north ASAP, they go to the beach and hang out!! They never say which beach, but it was filmed at Tybee Island....in Georgia like the rest of the story. Now considering McCall controls at least a county and perhaps much of Georgia, this little vacation makes no sense at all and showed that the script could have used a bit of a re-write. It's still enjoyable...but also misses the mark and could have been better. As for me, I think I prefer "White Lightning"....though "Gator" did have more in the way of plot and "White Lightning" was almost pure action.

White Lightning
(1973)

If you love car chases, I have a film for you!!
There's not a lot of depth to "White Lightning". Now this is not to say it's a bad film....there just isn't a ton of plot and much of it consists of car chases....sort of like "Bullit" set in the deep South!

When the story begins, two men are murdered out in the swamps. You soon learn that one of the dead men was Gator McKlusky's brother...and Gator wants revenge. The problem is that Gator's in prison! So, he makes a deal with the Feds....if they let him out early, he'll dig up evidence against the Sheriff who is probably behind the murders.

What follows is Gator getting in good with local moonshiners. After all, none of these folks can do this without the Sheriff's approval...as well as a piece of the action! But this goes awry, and soon Gator's racing for his life. Good thing he has a VERY fast car and he loves to drive!

This is a decent time-passer. You don't watch this one for the acting or plot (not that they are bad) but in order to watch the action...and the film is full of it. Apparently the movie did so well that two years later they made a sequel, "Gator".

Sam Whiskey
(1969)

While the western isn't at all believable, it is fun and enjoyable.
I think "Sam Whiskey" is a bit underrated and is actually one of Burt Reynolds' better films despite it's meager score of 5.9 on IMDB. It's very enjoyable...enough that you can look past the final portion of the movie which is, needless to say, farfetched....but fun.

Sam Whiskey (Reynolds) is certainly NOT a great hero in this film. He talks big and makes big promises, so that is why Laura (Angie Dickenson) hires this ne'er-do-well to do an anti-robbery! What is an anti-robbery? It's when you are paid to return something stolen without anyone being the wiser! In this case, apparently Laura's father stole gold from the local mint and replaced it with gold-painted lead blocks. Sam's job is to retrieve the faux gold and replace it with the original. First, he needs to hire some partners to help him. Second, he needs to retrieve the gold. Third, they need to somehow switch it with the fake stuff!

In many, many ways, this film is a like a lighthearted and slightly comic version of a later film, John Wayne's "The Train Robbers". The Wayne film is rated higher but I frankly enjoyed the Reynolds movie more even though how they replace the gold is hard to believe...especially since gold is MUCH heavier and difficult to work with than it is in the film! Worth seeing and fun...and, incidentally, the song Sam sings will DEFINITELY get stuck in your head if you do watch it!

12 O'Clock High: Twenty Fifth Mission
(1966)
Episode 22, Season 2

You have to feel sorry for the guy...
Bradford Dillman stars as Major Parsons, a bomber pilot who is about to fly what he thinks is his 25th mission. And, during the war, once an American bomber crew member hit that number, they were shipped back to the States. However, there are two problems. First, Colonel Gallagher really needs Parsons for a special mission due to his experience. Second, it turns out it's actually his 24th not his 25th mission! But to make things worse, Parsons is starting to crack up...and even if he wants to do this final mission, he might not be medically fit.

This is a decent episode as it brings up several interesting points about pilots and PTSD. Well worth seeing.

By the way, the mission they need Parsons for is to destroy a plant making Me-163 rocket planes. In hindsight, leaving the plant alone would have been best, as the 163 probably killed more of its own pilots than the enemy! The much more volatile fuel than usual often leaked...causing explosions or literally dissolving the pilot...it was THAT dangerous and unpredictable.

12 O'Clock High: Back to the Drawing Board
(1966)
Episode 21, Season 2

One of the very best.
While I enjoy watching reruns of "12 O'Clock High", the stories often go in odd directions in order to spice up the show. Simply showing bomb run after bomb run each episode would bore viewers. So, sometimes the show came up with some nutty plots to mix things up a bit...such as having Gallagher and his crew flying to the USSR, doing missions for which other planes are designed, as well as being shot down....and combined General Savage and Colonel Gallagher must have been shot down at least 6 times!! So, an episode like "Back to the Drawing Board" is a welcome show, as it is very different AND realistic!

When the story begins, Gallagher is shown a new secret weapon...a radar system for bombers that allow it to see through the clouds and accurately bomb in adverse weather. The episode guest stars Burgess Meredith as the device's inventor and you see the progress of the weapon--its successes, its failures and working out the glitches in the system.

Overall, a really fascinating episode...one that is based on fact and is exciting from start to finish....and one of the very best of the episodes so far.

The Helpless Helper
(1927)

Not terrible...but not funny.
I found this short comedy posted to YouTube. The man who posted it, Gene Cuddy, provides short blurbs at the beginning of the shorts he posts....and on it he said that Al Joy was about the most unfunny comedian of the silent era! With this ringing endorsement, I felt compelled to watch it!

When the story begins, Al is helping the Professor with his gasoline substitute he just invented. Soon after a big jerk arrives, Al manages to destroy the invention...and the Professor is fit to be tied. And, because of this, it's unlikely the man will agree to Al's marriage...so Al elopes with his snookielumps. What's next? Does it matter?

The film is agreeable to watch except is ISN'T funny. There is a funny scene involving a bed and a window...but Al himself seems to do nothing to make it or any of the scenes funny. He just didn't seem to have a lot of charisma. Overall, watchable but not much more.

Babe Ruth
(1998)

Keep watching...it gets better the more you watch
After watching the first ten minutes of this film, I was not impressed. It had, up until then, consisted nothing but interviews with folks today as they heaped superlatives on the man...and I found this a bit dull. I am very glad I kept watching, as it turns out it's a dandy film...and probably the best film about Babe Ruth you can find...which isn't hard, as they've made some terrible films about this legendary ballplayer. "The Babe Ruth Story" (with William Bendix) was like a fairytale...a complete whitewashing of the man. Later, John Goodman's version went the opposite direction and seemed to have nothing good to say about the man. But this one hour film manages to talk about the man...warts and all, but also the much good he did as well.

After the first ten minutes or so (which, by the way, could easily have been shortened), the film then jumps back...giving biographical information about Ruth. This portion, while a bit too short, was important because up until then it didn't feel like a biography....just a lot of nice reminiscences. From here on, the film really worked well...discussing the real Ruth, his career, death and impact on America. Overall, extremely good though short.

Semi-Tough
(1977)

Not quite a Ménage à trois...but certainly an odd threesome.
"Semi-Tough" is an odd film, as it seems to have less plot than most movies. Instead, it's like taking a slice of a couple football players, warts and all, showing what happens to them during the course of a single season. However, unlike a tell-all sports story like "Ball Four", this one is complete fiction.

Billy Clyde and Shake (Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson) both play football for Miami's pro team*. Their team is doing quite well and they might end up in the Super Bowl...though the film focuses much more on their lives off the field than on. The main emphasis is on the strange threesome.... Billy Clyde, Shake and the owner's daughter, Barbara Jane (Jill Clayburg). While they live together, Billy Clyde and Barbara Jane are friends...no benefits. And, Shake and Barbara Jane are going to get married. There also is a subplot involving a self-help guru and his teachings which were like EST, Scientology, and Primal Scream. But apart from these , the film shows a variety of antics...most of which involve Billy Clyde bedding various women...or trying.

There just isn't a lot more plot to this one. It's more like getting a peek into the lives of a couple playboys and their various antics. But because there isn't a lot of plot, the film seems very inconsequential and is easy to like or just skip. Undemanding and not bad...just not especially memorable.

Le mystère Méliès
(2021)

Who Méliès was and what happened to his negatives.
"The Mystery of Méliès" is an hour long documentary which is essentially in two parts. The first half is about the film career of Georges Méliès. The second half is about what happened to his over 500 movies...most of which today are lost. According to the film, about 200 of his movies remain, at least in part (I have seen and reviewed 160 of them). So where did the prints and negatives go? Well, the film tells you and the journey of the existing negatives and their preservation is fascinating and VERY important to film historians and buffs.

I loved this documentary and strongly recommend it. It is being a bit nit-picky but the film does miss one thing...how other film makers literally took a Méliès story and refilmed it themselves, nearly scene-for-scene, and passing it off as their own! Segundo de Chomón, in particular, was notorious for doing this...and talk about his and Edison's and others' knockoff versions was oddly missing from the documentary. A minor, minor detail....and no reason not to see the picture.

The Longest Yard
(1974)

A good movie...but not exactly a comedy.
When the story begins, Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) is having a fight with his girlfriend. He then leaves and she calls the cops. Now at this point it becomes obvious Crewe isn't all that bright, as he takes her car and leads the police on a high speed chase. It ends with Crewe pushing the car into the water and then fighting with the cops. Not surprisingly, he's sentenced to prison.

Upon arriving at the prison, you learn that Crewe is an ex-NFL player who threw his career away by shaving points AND the rather awful prison warden (Eddie Arnold) pulled strings to get Crewe sent to his particular prison. Why Because the prison guards have a semi-pro team and the warden wants Crewe to coach the team. Crewe refuses and is punished by being placed on a terrible work detail. It's obvious that life for Crewe is going to be bad unless he agrees to play ball with the warden. And, by that, it means Crewe organizing the prisoners to play the guards in a big football game.

I've heard repeatedly that this was a comedy, but to me I wouldn't consider it to be a comedy...just a very good sports film. It has many of the usual things you'd expect in such a game...along with the guards playing extra-dirty (I sure expected it to be the other way around). Very enjoyable and Reynolds seemed to really be in his element with this one.

The End
(1978)

A comedy that forgot to be funny.
I can applaud the folks who made "The End" for being daring. But the problem with this black comedy is that I just didn't find much of it very funny. I guess it all just depends on what you think of this type of humor.

When the story begins, Sonny (Burt Reynolds) learns that he's dying. It might be a month, it might be a year...but he's dying from a blood disease. And, since the end won't be particularly pleasant, he decides to kill himself. But first he wants to tie up a few loose ends with his girlfriend and his daughter.

When he actually does try to take an overdose, he awakens in a psychiatric hospital...a very goofy one like the sort you would expect in a Three Stooges film or the like. There he meets up with a really strange and BROADLY acted new friend, Marlon (Dom DeLuise). And, since Marlon really is insane and rather dangerous, he decides to help his new friend kill himself. What's next? See the film...or not.

While I appreciate the subject matter (it is quite brave), the problem I had is that the film just wasn't very funny to me. I found DeLuise to be too goofy...like a comic book character, not a real person in any way. In fact, the whole thing just came off as too goofy and silly...but not funny.

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